The power of inspiration and purpose … Bloodine by Kristen Ashburn.
I began this project to give a voice to the people behind the statistcs- Kristen Ashburn
The AIDS pandemic continues to devastate sub-Saharan Africa. Two million people died from the disease in 2005 alone. Twelve million children have lost at least one parent. The statistics are staggering.
Kristen Ashburn’s BLOODLINE: AIDS and Family is the story of these men, women and their children. Ashburn’s photographs are heartbreaking (see more here and here). But they also tell us of something more. They remind us of how tenuous our connection is to each other. In doing so, they show that what matters most is the care we give to those in need. (from MediaStorm).
Kristen Ashburn received her $20,000 grant in February 2006 to fund her project communicating the plight of HIV/AIDS sufferers in Zimbabwe.
I wish I’d been able to complete this project three years ago, I’ve only been able to work on it for three weeks at a time. I’ve made four trips in total, living on $5 a day, staying in youth hostels, living off mangoes – I can’t tell you how many of those I ate. I would have found a way, but the grant has enabled me to continue it.
I meet people struggling with the virus, facing the reality of their death and they ask, ‘Can you let them know what’s happening to us?’ I don’t think I encapsulate one percent of one percent of it. It’s so overwhelming, but I hope I reflect some of it. –Kristen Ashburn
Popular Photography magazine has published an interesting assay about Bloodline.
The images in “Bloodline” are selected from a body of work taken over the past five years. Ashburn began the project without any prior experience or assignments shooting in Africa; shortly after graduating college, while working as a studio manager in New York, she saved money for airfare and a few weeks of traveling, and has not stopped since.
I knew that I wanted to involve myself in photojournalism. For me in particular, the AIDS crisis was compelling, and if I was going to spend my resources and time and energy on something I wanted to make sure it was a subject I was committed to.-Kristen Ashburn
The project is entirely self-sponsored; she has never been sent to Africa on assignment (though her work shooting internationally has since been featured in magazines such as Time and Newsweek, among others). Her work was entirely funded through prodigious grant writing and prize money earned through honors such as Canon’s 2004 Female Photojournalism award (and, most recently, the Getty Foundation Grant, which allowed her to complete the project).
It was a true labor of love and dedication of wanting to focus on this issue and this crisis-KA
If you are lucky to live in New York City you can see the images of “Bloodline” between Dec. 1 to Jan. 14th 2007 at 401 Projects Gallery in New York City. The exhibit will support a fundraising effort for Keep a Child Alive and Mashambanzou Care Trust, two NGOs dedicated to fighting the disease in Africa.